Gungubele questioned on Ikwekwezi, Ligwalagwala cost cutting measures

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Member of Parliament, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has questioned why Ikwekwezi FM and Ligwalagwala FM were targeted with cost-cutting measures.

Mkhwebane posed the question to Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Mondli Gungubele during an Economic Ministerial oral reply session in the National Assembly.

Ligwalagwala FM, a siSwati radio station, is based in Mbombela while Ikwekwezi radio station which serves the isiNdebele audience was moved from Pretoria to the SABC in Auckland.

The two are part of the 19 SABC Radio Stations.

Mkhwebane emphasised that Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) regulations require stations to be located where the listenership resides.

“It’s only Ikwekwezi and Ligwalagwala, the Mpumalanga combo which were moved, were targetted with that cost-cutting measure and this has an impact on whether you are in London or wherever you listen to Ligwalagwala or Ikwekwezi. But the fact of the matter is that this robbed the people of Mpumalanga to have these two stations based either in Witbank or Middleburg to create economic activities not only about listening but all the issues”

Mkhwebane added: “The quality is terrible, to tell you, Minister. That’s the complaint that has been received. So, why are these two discriminated against when there are cost-cutting measures and the benefits that the Mpumalanga people are losing as far as creating economic activity for the communities of Mpumalanga?”

In his reply to Mkhwebane, Gungubele says he will look into the matter if all the facts are provided.

“What is fundamental is that the audience of Ikwekwezi is entitled to content that is generated in that station. As I’m sitting here I sometimes listen to 702, I don’t even know where it is located. What is important is that when I switch on, I am able to listen to and get everything that I want.”

“I am not sure if that is the major concern of this audience, but if you have facts in that regard, you can actually forward them so that we can deal with them. Where we are … we say the target audience, the content and everything we are serving them is required. But if you think there is a change in the content we are willing to entertain if you can forward it,” explains Gungubele.